Friday, December 31, 2010

Have Yourselves an Incredible 2011

"A garden is never so good as it will be next year." 
                                        Thomas Cooper, Horticulture magazine, 1993

Sunday, December 26, 2010

More of Atlanta's White Christmas

Yesterday's snow really was the ultimate Christmas surprise, and (if possible) it made a great day that much better.  As it happened, the snow began coming down with gusto about an hour before people started to arrive at our house, so it provided that perfect romantic holiday backdrop.  There was a dusting of snow on the lawn and trees and just enough big fluffy flakes coming down to make people feel "Christmas-y" as they arrived with their respective contributions to the feast. 
By late last evening, there was a magical silence in the air that comes with snow.  Because of the holiday, there was very little traffic, so even in the street there were only a couple of sets of boot tracks and those of a wandering neighbor dog.

Friday, December 24, 2010

While Visions of Sugarplums Danced in Their Heads....

Frank and Sadie the Dog have each had an exhausting day of pre-holiday carbs......I hope you get what you're dreaming of........

Thursday, December 23, 2010

"Away Ina Manger"

I would love to say I'm clever enough to come up with a phrase like that, but I'm not.  It was the caption under a photo of Ina Garten's face (The Barefoot Contessa) nestled in swaddling cloth in the manger on a brilliant website called Food Network Humor.  (Something tells me my mother wouldn't find that photo "brilliant" and would ask where I'm going to church tomorrow night).

In any case, I've started the Christmas cooking (a favorite activity now that I'm not a caterer anymore!), and just finished Ina's stuffing that she used for a Roasted Turkey Roulade.  It's pretty incredible, and definitely worth trying.  I followed her recipe to the letter, and wouldn't change a thing.  (Don't you hate when people completely change the recipe, then give the recipe a "poor" rating on those websites???)  It's from her Back to Basics cookbook from 2008.  I'm doing the whole recipe as written with a boneless turkey breast.


• 3/4 cup large-diced dried figs, stems removed

• 3/4 cup dried cranberries

• 1/2 cup Calvados or brandy

• 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

• 1 1/2 cups diced onions (2 onions)

• 1 cup (1/2-inch-diced) celery (3 stalks)

• 3/4 pound pork sausage, casings removed (sweet and hot mixed)

• 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves

• 3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted

• 3 cups herb-seasoned stuffing mix (recommended: Pepperidge Farm)

• 1 1/2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade

• 1 extra-large egg, beaten

• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

• 1 whole (2 halves) turkey breast, boned and butterflied (5 pounds)

• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


Place the dried figs and cranberries in a small saucepan and pour in the Calvados and 1/2 cup water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage, crumbling it into small bits with a fork, and saute, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes, until cooked and browned. Add the figs and cranberries with the liquid, the chopped rosemary, and pine nuts, and cook for 2 more minutes. Scrape up the brown bits with a wooden spoon.

Place the stuffing mix in a large bowl. Add the sausage mixture, chicken stock, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and stir well. (The stuffing may be prepared ahead and stored in the refrigerator overnight.)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place a baking rack on a sheet pan.

Lay the butterflied turkey breast skin side down on a cutting board. Sprinkle the meat with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Spread the stuffing in a 1/2-inch-thick layer over the meat, leaving a half-inch border on all sides. Don't mound the stuffing or the turkey will be difficult to roll. (Place the leftover stuffing in a buttered gratin dish and bake for the last 45 minutes of roasting alongside the turkey.) Starting at 1 end, roll the turkey like a jelly roll and tuck in any stuffing that tries to escape on the sides. Tie the roast firmly with kitchen twine every 2 inches to make a compact cylinder.

Place the stuffed turkey breast seam side down on the rack on the sheet pan. Brush with the melted butter, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and roast for 1 3/4 to 2 hours, until an instant-read thermometer registers 150 degrees F in the center. (I test in a few places.) Cover the turkey with aluminum foil and allow it to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Carve 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve warm with the extra stuffing.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The New Header

I opened my computer this morning, coffee cup in hand, and what to my wondering eyes should appear but a very lengthy rant from a reader, going on and on about my "ecologically irresponsible promotion of golf courses over nature," asking how I could possibly encourage readers to cut the prairie so short.  This was presented in a mix of capital letters, italics and bold fonts.

The only thing I can assume from the comment is that he is referring to the new header photo, which I put up to give myself something green to look at.  In this grayest of gardening seasons, I start to get a little crazy from lack of chlorophyll and sunshine.

Just to clarify, the photo is of the Queen's Estate at Sandringham, which we visited a few months ago.  I found the entire property to be exquisite (in my opinion).  An elderly docent told me that "this is where Her Majesty is just Granny," and the estate conveyed that message over and over.  It's a beautiful old rambling house with incredible grounds.  It could not be further from my Stepchild Garden, with its "Southern Vernacular Lawn" of crabgrass, ground ivy, poke and henbit.  In fact, I don't even own a lawnmower, and the urns in that photo probably cost more than my truck with its cracked windshield.

I certainly am not in a position to defend Her Majesty, but I will point out that (1) I didn't see a golf course, or even a putting green, on the property; (2)  The turf areas are kept very tall on most of the estate; and (3)  I was impressed when the gardener told me that the property is not kept in a manicured stage all the time, and that Her Majesty prefers to allow the plants to progress through their natural seasonal stages.

I was tempted to release my flying monkeys on the person who commented (who, by the way, isn't even a regular follower of this blog), then I decided I should just send him over to Jim at "Grouchy."  At the end of the day, though, I think he just needs to chill a little, grab a glass of wine, and spend some time gardening.....dude, you are way too tightly wrapped to be a gardener....

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Promise of Spring

Even after a week of freezing weather, a walk through the garden reminded me of why I moved to the South in the first place.  It seems as soon as there is an inkling of warmth and sunshine, the spring bloomers are showing signs of life.

In the vegetable garden, the broccoli made it through the freeze just fine, and is continue to grow under the shelter of those big leaves.
The rhododendrons are promising a wonderful spring show, just covered with giant swelling buds.  This particular shrub is well over my head, so I needed to take this shot from underneath the leaves.  That's a rare occurence in the south, where they typically don't handle the summer heat well.
Outside the screened porch, the Edgeworthia buds are about to pop, releasing that incredible fragrance.
Hypericum "Brigadoon" is cautiously sending out new growth, which will go blue later in the season.  There is no better show than this little plant when the "Peacock Blue" selaginella comes out all around it.
I'm feeling warmer already.......

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bartlett Pear and Dried Cherry Rustic Tart

This is a Martha Stewart recipe from five or six years, that I've modified only slightly.  The Chinese Five Spice Powder provides a really interesting twist on the traditional flavors one would expect for the holidays.  (Please resist the temptation to substitute dried cranberries for the cherries......the cherries really make a world of difference!)

All-purpose flour, for work surface
1 lb. package frozen puff pastry, fully defrosted
3 small or 2 medium Bartlett pears (about 1 pound 2 ounces),
            cored, and cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 ounces dried sour cherries
1/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
½ tsp each Salt and freshly ground pepper
½ tsp. Chinese Five-spice powder
1 large egg, lightly beaten

• Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
• On a lightly floured surface, unfold the puff pastry. Cut into two 10-by-7 1/2-inch rectangles. Refrigerate until ready to use. (Puff pastry needs to be cold when it goes into the oven.)
• Stir pears, cherries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and spices together in a bowl.
• Transfer 1 rectangle of dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
• Spoon fruit mixture onto dough, leaving a 1-inch border all around the edge. Brush the
border with beaten egg. Lay remaining dough over filling; crimp the edges together.
• Trim edges, and brush top with beaten egg. Cut slits in the top crust for ventilation
during baking.
• Sprinkle with sugar. Bake, rotating once, until crust is golden and filling is bubbling,
bubbling, about 35 minutes. Transfer pie to a wire rack to cool.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Caramelized Onion Dip Recipe

This is something that  I make with regularity in the winter, because it goes together very quickly, and is consistently well-received, even by non-onion lovers.  In this season of impromptu socializing, it's an easy item to take to a cocktail party.

2 T. butter
3 large Vidalia (or other sweet) onions, coarsely chopped
2 c. shredded  Swiss cheese
2 c. mayonnaise
1 (8 oz) can diced water chestnuts, rinsed and drained
1/4 c. dry white wine, plus one glass for the cook
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
Crackers or Tortilla Chips for Dipping

In a heavy skillet, heat the butter over medium-high heat; add the onions and cook about 10 minutes, until they've started to really brown.  (The more you stir, the longer this will take, so stop stirring and drink some wine.)

Remove from the heat, let cool for five minutes, then add everything else, except the crackers.

Pour into a 2 quart casserole, and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.

NOTE:  This is not a recipe that adapts well for low-fat, low-carb, low-calorie.  It's the holiday season, so use the regular mayo and regular cheese, and pop an extra Lipitor!  (It's also a dish that works for kosher guests and vegetarians, if they are part of the mix.)

Garden Tour?

It's 42 degrees at the moment (9 AM), and this is the high temp for the next three days!  Mark your calendars for the 2011 Cobb Master Gardeners Tour, May 7....spring is coming back, really it is!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Computer Hates this Weather, too!

I think my computer is boycotting this crazy cold weather, as well, so no posts for the next few days.....have a great weekend!

Monday, December 6, 2010

But it's Not Even Winter Yet!

It is absolutely freezing in Atlanta today.  It's currently 38 degrees (our high today), and not supposed to get out of the 40's until Friday.....not the sort of weather that makes for a happy gardener!

The tetrapanax has gone from its lush tropical look to that of wet tissues.  At least it's opening up the view of the native azalea, which will be one of spring's first bloomers.
The fatsia japonica is bowing down in the cold temps, as well. It's funky blossoms are reaching for the ground rather than for the sun! Fortunately it's much tougher than it looks, and will perk right back up when it warms up a bit.
The aucuba looks like it's trying to get into a fetal position!
Oh, well, seems like the perfect day to go and get my annual flu vaccination!  Stay warm wherever you are!

Friday, December 3, 2010

A Special Day

Today marks 25 years for Frank and me as a couple.  I know that it sounds cliche, but in hindsight, it seems to have passed so very quickly.  It feels like just a few years since we met.

I don't express it often enough, but I really do wake up every day thinking about how lucky I am to be in such a relationship, and that this many years later we are still actively challenging and supporting one another to be all that each of us can be in life.

I really feel blessed that there isn't anyone I'd rather spend the next 25 years with.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Bathroom Re-Do is Mostly Done

Still needs some accessorizing, but the bathroom reno is almost finished.  Tony the amazing contractor is finished with his part, and now it's just waiting for the Pottery Barn boxes to arrive.  These are two different angles, but hopefully this will show just how incredible Tony often do you meet a contractor who leaves you anxious to start the next project!?

If anyone needs a "Merman" shower curtain, I know where one can be found at a great bargain!  And if you are in metro-Atlanta and need a great contractor, I'm happy to recommend Tony to you!

Winter has Arrived

It's 34 degrees at the moment in Atlanta, colder where we are in the 'burbs.  It's going to hit 47 degrees as the high's only December 1.  HOT-lanta? 

I need to check with Tom at Seventh Street and see how many days until spring.........

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Winter Projects at the Big House

The weather has been very odd today; waking up and going outside, I was prepared for the usual chill, but it was eerily warm.  Later in the day the sky looked like a giant bucket of gray paint being slowly stirred.  One could literally see the clouds churning as it prepared for the crazy rains we got later today.

It was the perfect day for Patti and I to get some holiday things done for the house, as well as catch up on the progress of plants we're overwintering in the greenhouse.  Wiring tuteurs with lights to put into the containers around the pool, a boxwood wreath for the gate to the wall garden.....

In the greenhouse, this is the time of year when things look rather sad; many are still adjusting to being yanked out of their pots a few weeks ago for the winter season indoors.  The bougainvillea is getting too big to keep moving back and forth, so once it finishes adjusting, it will start getting trained up and across the glass roof of the greenhouse.  Since only the lateral branches really bloom well, that's a great way of making shade.
The "Betty Marshall" brugmansia got cut down in late October, and the pieces are starting to root in the bucket of water.  Once they're rooted better, we'll put them into pots to start growing out for next summer.  By going through the process now, we keep the plants "young" for next year, and will usually have blooms by June 1 at the pool. 
The cannas were taken out of the koi ponds this year, broken apart, and repotted.  Hopefully we'll be able to put them out already with some good foliage in late April, giving them a head start on the blooming season.  (Something tells me Patti has hidden a "mystery plant" in that front pot.....) 
Dichondra totally fried late this summer, so it's been chopped back and is just starting to peer over the edge of the hanging baskets again.  This one, "Emerald Falls," really earns its name! 
The shade lovers below are jammed into that trough for the winter months.  We'll separate them out into lots of different containers in spring again. 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Leaves, Leaves, and More Leaves

The Stepchild Garden is actually quite small, being about a half acre, though I guess that might be considered big by some subdivision standards.  In any case, it is as casual in design as the Big House garden is formal.  One of my favorite features of the Stepchild is that fully half of it is shaded, which is a treat in the midst of an Atlanta summer;  when the leaves start to fall, however, it's quite a different story.

Even with some help from Chuck and his leaf blower, I spent six hours in the Stepchild Garden today, and have only made it through about 75 percent of what needs to be cleaned up this weekend.  I hate everything about gasoline leaf blowers, from the noise to the rattle-your-bones feeling to the horrible gasoline fumes; as a result, I spend much more time with my little electric blower or (better yet) a rake.

I did cave in this year, though, and get a chipper-shredder, mostly because it was a good deal and because I've never owned one.  It is now my new favorite toy during leaf season.  It is deafening loud and incredibly hard to maneuver around the back garden, but it makes short order of leaves that would otherwise be bagged or run over multiple times with the lawnmower to shred them. The plastic hose shown in this photo is about five feet long, and is a huge vaccuum tube, so the leaves can be sucked up, shredded, and blown right back out over the mulched areas.  Pretty cool,  huh?


Happy Birthday, Grampy!

Today would have been my maternal grandfather's 100th birthday.  I've have always felt very lucky that all of my grandparents lived at least until I was in college, so I had a close relationship with them.

This is a favorite photo of my grandfather, which I would guess was taken in the late 1920's, when he would have been in his late teens.  It's a photo of him and his mother sitting next to her little vegetable garden.  It's such an unusual photo because later in life he worked for a supermarket chain as the produce manager, and the last thing he wanted to do at home was grow vegetables!
This next one is a few years later when he was in the Coast Guard.  Between the uniform and the car, is it any wonder my grandmother fell head-over-heels in love with him?
I find it ironic that he had four children and 12 grandchildren, but always made it clear that he had no use for children until they were at least eighteen years old.  One of my strongest memories was of a day that he was somehow railroaded into babysitting my brother and me (I was in first grade, my brother in third).  Imagine my mother's horror when she discovered we had spent the day sitting at a bar with my grandfather and his buddies, and that our lunch had consisted of pickled eggs, beer nuts and Coca Cola!  Archie Bunker had nothing on my grandfather!  He wasn't the most nurturing, but certainly one of the most fun!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Succession Planting in the Cutting Garden

Since I've undertaken replanting the cutting garden/perennial bed at the Big House in earnest,  I'm deferring to the creators of some of the wonderful gardens we visited in England (though I'm aware I'll need to make some specific plant changes to suit the Atlanta climate.)  There are few gardeners in recent history who had the incredible sense of color (and the bravery to explore it) of Christopher Lloyd.  His garden at Great Dixter is legendary, and for good reason.                                      
 I've just started reading Lloyd's Succession Planting for Year-Round  Color, and  am enthralled by the combinations he created in that garden.  (Interestingly Lloyd wrote some incredibly good books, and some incredibly bad ones at different times of his life.  You might want to read some reviews prior to automatically spending for a book just because it has his name on it.  I found this one on Amazon for $7.50)

Here are some recommended combinations, just from the first few pages:

Byzantine Gladiola planted into a chartreuse striped low-growing bamboo.  The contrast between the dark-stemmed hot fuschia glads and the bright chartreuse bamboo is just amazing!  Since anyone in the Southeast knows that planting bamboo is right up there with planting kudzu, I'm going to use a chartreuse acorus as the base plant for that same effect. 

Aucuba japonica underplanted with hellebores, a spring-summer blooming medium height blue annual, and Japanese anemones.  Just go with this for a minute and let it digest.  The aucuba will bear fruit in the winter/spring at the same time as the hellebores bloom; when the hellebores start to look messy, the blue-flowering annual will take your eye off the fading hellebore leaves.  At the same time, the anemone leaves will grow up into the hellebores, fulling masking them in their "less attractive" time.  (In the border at Great Dixter, this is right next to the bamboo/gladiola mentioned above.)

Crocosmia planted right at the base of dark-leaved cannas.  The flowers of crocosmia are like little firecrackers in the perennial bed, but the strappy leaves are often a little ratty looking.  Just picture the hot orange crocosmia flower against the dark burgundy canna leaves!

Also in the first chapter, there are two "method" points that Lloyd makes that I think are worth mentioning. 

First, he talks about using pruned branches from shrubs as discreet supports for tall-growing flowers that will come later in the season.  I saw this everywhere in England, particularly at Nyman's to support dahlias and such.  We always save the trimmings when pruning interesting plants like contorted filberts to use as plant supports that aren't covered with dark green plastic.

Second, he mentions the use of mushroom compost in the clay soil around Great Dixter (Kent has similar soil to Georgia, though not red.)  According to Lloyd, the reaction between mushroom compost and clay soils results in a soil that is much more alkaline than normal, which is a problem for some plants that one would typically grow in this part of the world.  I can't vouch for the validity of that statement, but I'm certainly not going to challenge Christoper Lloyd, dead or not!  I'll let you know the results at the end of the season.

Anyway, all of that in just the first few pages of this book.  I'm thinking it was $7.50 well spent!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Where is Elmer Fudd when We Need Him?

No photos this morning, since I'm on a mission to have a face-to-face chat with a deer.  This absolutely beautiful giant buck has been in the neighborhood for a couple of years, and has suddenly decided that "Antique Shades" pansies are his version of M & M's. 

The problem, of course, is that I've only seen him very early in the morning, standing defiantly on the far side of the lawn, looking much like a $50,000 bronze garden ornament.   He is like this mythical creature, emerging out of the mist.

I'm afraid he knows that I think he's an incredible garden accessory, and I would never dream of doing anything to harm him........I'm going to need to call on Elmer Fudd, since all I can do is smile, shake my head, and continue to put out more pansies on his buffet....

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Too Late to Change My Mind!

 Since buying our house five years ago, I've hated the bathrooms.  They are standard 1980's issue (in keeping with the house), and were given a fresh coat of paint and new accessories just before we bought the house.  With lots of gardening and other projects to do, they've always just sort of been there, always on the "when I have a few thousand extra dollars I'll think about it" list.  The only thing I have done in the guest bathroom in five years is hang the "Merman" shower curtain I bought at an arts festival a few years ago.

We have said for a long time that when we got back from England there would be no big trips for a couple of years, and we were going to do some work on the house.  Well, we're back from England and it's time.  I'm delighted to say that everything is gone from the old bathroom, and we're starting to put back together.  Until you've owned a pinkish beige composite bathtub and surround for five years, you have no idea how exciting it is to be the owner of a simple white bathtub!  The garage is filled with travertine tiles, and the sofa in the little sitting room downstairs is covered with faucets and such.  Pinkish plastic tub is sitting in the trash pile, along with the "faux marble" sink (complete with cigarette burns from a former owner of years ago).  So far it's a beautiful day in my bathroom.....

The Walled Garden "Re-do" Continues

It hardly seems possible that a month ago this bed was literally overflowing with vegetation!  The fact that it was mostly "vegetation" and not specifically "bloom" is why it's now been stripped down to the bones.

As I mentioned a few posts ago, we've reached the point at which the walled garden needs to be pulled apart, edited, and rearranged in order to continue its purpose as a cutting area.  This first shot shows the first of the flower beds to be totally taken apart and put back together (really about as much as we can do with it until spring.)  We'll fill in all of the blank spots in spring with other perennials and some strong annuals.

This photo also shows off some of the great details that make this such a beautiful garden.  The brickwork has filled in beautifully with creeping fig (not nearly as high maintenance as it might look, but it does take a clipping once every couple of weeks in season).  These white tuteurs get used for different things in different years (tomatoes, hyacinth bean, cypress vine), and are really most effective in winter when the beds are not brimming with produce. 
In this other angle, you can see where those wretched banana shrubs got removed, and we've replaced them with tuteurs to support Rose Zepherine Drouhin.  It's a thornless repeat bloomer that has brilliant cerise flowers in spring and then again in fall.  We're refilling this bed with many of the same flowers that were there before (just majorly thinned), as well as some others to give a longer consistent bloom season.  I've been working with Christopher Lloyd's "Succession Planting" book, trying to adapt the principles to plants that will tolerate Georgia's hot days AND hot nights.  (For example, the back is being planted with delphiniums and then Ruellia in one area, and with foxgloves followed by tall white Nicotiana in another).  
The long hot dry summer has done great things for this little island bed, where the Mission olive seems quite happy underplanted with Mother of Thyme.  The edge is Buxus "Grace Hendicks Phillips," which is a true dwarf; it is painfully slow growing, but hopefully during my lifetime as the Big House gardener it will grow into a solid hedge. 
The photo below shows the beatiful color from Blueberries (after all, this is also the vegetable garden). 
Lastly, here's the second of the flower beds to get tackled; we've finished most of the stripping, and will hopefully start on the new plantings one this rain stops. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

Autumn Color, Part Deux

It's raining like crazy at the moment, and is expected to continue this way through tomorrow, so I'm sure all of the beautiful autumn leaves will be lying on the ground by Wednesday morning.  For the time being, though, it's still looking great outside the window.

Here's one of Japanese Maple "Crimson Queen" yesterday at the Big House.  The laceleaf is really fabulous against the very sharp angles of that stone pillar.
Here is that same Crimson Queen next to another (obviously much larger) Japanese Maple.  The contrast in color is pretty awesome in my mind. 
Plain old Nandina is showing off her stuff at this time of year, as well! 
The fruits of Crataegus "Winter King" against the brown of a Dawn Redwood ready to drop it's summer outfit. 
This container has three different examples of the same plant.  Used to be called "Korean Mum," with "Sheffield" being the most commonly available cultivar.  For some reason it is now Dendrathema rubella, and tends to cross-pollinate like crazy.  What I love about this is that all of the offspring tend to be different shades of the same color family, so they blend together beautifully.  When they go out of bloom, I'll put them into the garden, where they usually live happily for years, and continue to develop into larger mounds.  They are very drought tolerant and bloom for several weeks in the fall. 
Ivy topiary with "Antique Shades" pansies.  In this particular case, it's really all about the Italian terra cotta container. 
So far I am loving Camellia x "Winter's Star," which is going bonkers right now.  What I find most impressive is that this hedge is in full Western sun, and seems to be just fine!  Since it was such a long hot summer this year, I can't wait to see it mature and fill in more. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Autumn Color

Seasonal color is never really consistent in Atlanta from one year to the next.  This year has been better than many of the past few, since it's been really dry.  Not all of these photos are autumn foliage, but some interesting things I saw while walking through the garden this morning.

The blooms of Autumn Cherry always seem particularly beautiful to me.  (In fact, this is the tree that "Mr" always says "only Tim could love" because it's elderly, covered with lichens, and looks like it has leprosy most of the time.)
Burning Bush off in the distance above the waterfall. 
I just love the flowers of Fatsia japonica! 
The Festival Grass is now completely dead (it's an annual), but I really like the contrast against the vibrant new pansies.  Tomorrow's rain will probably finish it off, and it will need to come out. 
The berries of Pyracantha "Mojave" against those of Parneyii Cotoneater.